Pragmatism, Persuasion, and Force in Bhimrao Ambedkar's Reconstruction of Buddhism

Stroud, Scott R. (2017). “Pragmatism, Persuasion, and Force in Bhimrao Ambedkar’s Reconstruction of Buddhism,” Journal of Religion, 97 (2), 214-243.

44 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2017

See all articles by Scott Stroud

Scott Stroud

University of Texas at Austin

Date Written: April 22, 2017

Abstract

This study explores the religious advocacy of the “untouchable” reformer, Bhimrao Ambedkar, during the 1950s to expand what we know about the nexus between religion, force, and the quest for social justice. Unearthing the sources of Ambedkar’s early references to John Dewey and pragmatism, this study argues that Ambedkar evinced an abiding concern over the role of force and violence in reform efforts. In his final years, Ambedkar addressed international audiences reconstructing Buddhism as an alternative to communism, a move that posited compassionate persuasion as the pragmatist answer to his early concerns over using force in pursuing social justice.

Keywords: pragmatism, religion, Bhimrao Ambedkar, John Dewey, caste, social justice, Bertrand Russell

Suggested Citation

Stroud, Scott, Pragmatism, Persuasion, and Force in Bhimrao Ambedkar's Reconstruction of Buddhism (April 22, 2017). Stroud, Scott R. (2017). “Pragmatism, Persuasion, and Force in Bhimrao Ambedkar’s Reconstruction of Buddhism,” Journal of Religion, 97 (2), 214-243.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2991131 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2991131

Scott Stroud (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

Austin, TX
United States

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